SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday approved two new directors — both candidates chose by Mayor London Breed — for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors.
Supervisors voted 9-2 to approve Manny Yekutiel, with supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Dean Preston both voting against his appointment.
Supervisors voted unanimously to approve Fiona Hinze’s appointment.
Both Fewer and Preston cited not voting for Yekutiel in favor of seeing more diverse board members, in particular those who can represent the city’s Latino community, pointing to a lack of diversity on the board.
Preston also cited Yekutiel’s lack of transportation experience as the agency deals with unprecedented low ridership and scaled back operations as a result of COVID-19.
“It is hard for me to understand an appointment to the governing body of our city’s transportation agency, who has no meaningful experience on transportation issues, and particularly, Muni,” Preston said. “I think it’s paramount that those serving on the SFMTA board at minimum have some significant transportation experience.”
Yekutiel is the owner of Manny’s, a cafe in the Mission District that has also in the past served as a venue for several prominent political figures. Yekutiel currently serves on the San Francisco Small Business Commission and is a board member of the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association.
Yekutiel also once served as a public engagement intern for the Obama Administration.
Hinze, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, works as the director of systems change for the Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, a disability advocacy organization. Hinze, a San Francisco native, focuses much of her advocacy on ensuring that people with disabilities have equitable access to public transit.
“Manny and Fiona will each bring their unique perspectives and experience to help guide the SFMTA during this critical time for our transit system and our entire city, and I’m proud to have nominated to serve on the Board of Directors,” Breed said in a statement following the votes. “As we’re dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing significant budget deficits, it’s important that we have a full board at the SFMTA guiding policy.”
“I’m deeply grateful to the Board of Supervisors for their confirmation today and am honored to serve alongside my fellow nominees Fiona Hinze who has dedicated her life to access and advocacy,” Yekutiel said. “On this board, my goal is to serve as a bridge builder at a moment when our city and its public transportation systems sit at a crossroads. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”
Hinze said, “I am excited to work with SFMTA and community members to ensure that San Francisco’s transit system and streetscape is accessible and equitable for all San Franciscans, including seniors and people with disabilities.”
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